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Theoretical Position. Standards for Evaluating Theories - Essay Example

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Theoretical Position. Standards for Evaluating Theories.
Theories have been used widely in different fields of study. They have been used as evaluative told for the understanding, describing, and giving predictions about a particular subject matter…
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Download file to see previous pages On the other hand, epistemology deals with the scope and nature of knowledge. Standards for Evaluating Theories There are five standards for evaluating theories and they include scope, testability, parsimony, utility and heurism. In the assessment of the scope of a theory, one has to determine how much and how good a theory defines and explains. Testability is the second standard for evaluating theories; in this aspect the theory is investigated to know whether it is correct or not, or [if it is incredible such that it does not require to be tested] (Can this be reworded without the word "incredible" and "does not require" to be tested? Our text does not cover the concept of a theory being so incredible it doesn't require testing). A third standard for evaluating theories is parsimony; parsimony can be referred to as simplicity. In this context, the theory does not have to be complex. The fourth standard is utility; many people tend to think that theory as being academic and esoteric (when it can have a functional use). The last standard in evaluating theories is heurism. What is the heuristic value of the theory? In this context, one asks himself if the theory leads to new thinking or its contribution to the knowledge of something and if it offers us with the possibility of further investigation (Wood, 2004). Some of the standards or criteria are more important than others; this is because I think they are more subjective than the others. I believe scope, parsimony, and utility to be more important than the others. In the context of scope, some of the theories claim to define and offer an explanation to almost all features of mass communication (including the medium, the recipient of the media messages, the content and the communicator). There are theories that provide an explanation and a description of only one feature of mass communication. For instance, “feminist theories which although can cover the whole domain of mass communication, often only focus on media content and the portrayal of women in media content” (Fourie, 2001, p. 46). When considering how well a theory defines something, one has to distinguish whether the theory offers a full or partial description of all the important aspects of the phenomenon. For instance, a theory can focus on all or partial aspects of mass communications process (medium, messages, communicator and recipient) (Fourie, 2001, p. 43). In regard to parsimony, it is thought that majority of the best theories are simple and they permit sound description and explanation. For example, the Roman Jakobson’s theory of communication functions has been used in many ways by a number of researchers to investigate the components of mass communication (Jakobson, Pomorska & Rudy, 1985, p170). In the context of utility, theories are supposed to possess practical importance in terms of the individual understanding of the phenomenon with the aim of managing the phenomenon and enhancing the phenomenon. A theory assisting us in understanding how mass communication operates “can lead to our control of this phenomenon to the benefit of people and society” (Fourie, 2001, p57). Ontology Ontology can be defined as the division of philosophy that deals with the organization and the nature of being (Maedche, 2002, p56). In other words, it is a branch of philosophy that explains the characteristic and organization of the being. My ontological position is that the characteristics and organization ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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